More than any other WWE pay-per-view this year, WWE TLC left fans excited to see what happens next. This anticipation is always important, but it’s especially crucial now that WWE shifts its focus to the Royal Rumble and beyond. The final WWE pay-per-view offered a solid card full of exemplary matches, and like most of the company’s events this year, it exceeded the fans’ expectations in just about every measure.
The Queen Is Back
Everyone and their brother knew that Charlotte Flair was returning on Sunday night. That’s one downside of being a pro wrestling fan who follows the news; sometimes, spoilers dampen the enjoyment of exciting things. Even if you take the leaked news out of the equation, Flair’s return was quite predictable because the made the most sense for the role of Asuka’s mystery partner. As others have pointed out, sometimes the most obvious answer is the best one. That argument holds true here.
Flair’s return instantly adds some needed star-power to the WWE women’s division. It might also lend some legitimacy to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Now that they’re held by two genuine Superstars in Flair and Asuka, the titles are more relevant than they’ve been in quite some time. It’ll be compelling to see how Flair and Asuka work as a team. In all likelihood, it’s only a matter of time before they renew their rivalry and build toward a heated RAW Women’s Championship Match for WWE WrestleMania 37. Their eventual implosion should be more intriguing than the one WWE had been building toward between Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
Plenty of fans have complained about the way that Flair was given a title as soon as she came back. If anything, it’s just a testament to her character and her in-ring work. To paraphrase Triple H, she’s “that dang good.” “The Queen” can defeat anyone on any given night, even when she’s been away from WWE programming for a few months. WWE made the right call here, and Flair will probably keep proving her doubters wrong every time she’s on the screen.
Business Is Booming
The tag team titles also changed hands in the men’s division. Business is booming, as Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin finally dethroned The New Day to win the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship. Benjamin deserves a shoutout because it’s been 17 years since he held gold in the tag team division. He’s such a gifted athlete that it had been perpetually disappointing to see WWE misuse him. Thankfully, Benjamin has hit his stride since he joined The Hurt Business. Behind MVP’s leadership, Benjamin, Alexander and Bobby Lashley have all reached new heights in their WWE careers. Fans of this dominant stable were likely thrilled to see the three champions posing atop the ramp after the match.
With the win, The Hurt Business is set to enter 2021 with a lot of momentum. Lashley could challenge McIntyre again for the WWE Champion at some point down the line, as the CEO of the Hurt Business has been booked quite strongly for a few months now. The Hurt Business remains a highlight on a show that just set a new all-time low viewership record. This group has layers, too. Alexander is getting increasingly greedy, as he wants to shine on his own. He nearly cost The Hurt Business this match by tagging himself in. The gamble paid off, but these small cracks in the group’s foundation could play out in a fascinating story in the months to come.
Carmella Proves Her Doubters Wrong
The first of three world title matches came when Sasha Banks defended the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Carmella. The feud between these Superstars has been inconsistent, if not divisive in its success. Carmella’s new gimmick hasn’t exactly won everyone over, as her segments have been somewhat hokey. Still, she had a chance to thrive on this big stage in a match with Banks, and she capitalized. “The Untouchable One” held her own with Banks, one of the best wrestlers on WWE’s talented roster. Putting aside the concerns about Carmella’s repackaged character, she showed everyone that she has stepped up her in-ring game on Sunday night.
This bout also told an excellent story. Carmella tried to use the same frustration that cost Banks the victory in their previous match against the champion. She nearly succeeded at a few points, as she and her sommelier, Reginald, nearly goaded Banks into making costly mistakes. But in the end, Banks flipped the script on Carmella. The challenger grew increasingly frustrated with her inability to defeat Banks. This anger proved to be Carmella’s undoing, as she let it blind her at the end of the match. Banks capitalized by making her tap out to the Banks Statement. These two talented performers told this story to perfection, so this match stood out on a show full of remarkable contests.